When I was a little girl, I attended my first Anti-Flag show, and I was corrupted. I remember this 19-year-old boy, Justin Sane, pointing his finger exclaiming, “Going to the show, that is only half of it, it is taking it to the streets that makes a difference. Going to protests, writing zines, going to rallies and having your voice heard.” Which leads me to the question … are you a punk or are you an activist?
Well after hearing that I remember feeling terrible. There I was in the sweaty crowd raising my fist and shaking my finger but I never went to a protest. I never tried to spread the word. I mean I had not even told my parents that Bush was Satan. What was I doing? Actually it was more like, what wasn’t I doing? This made me realize I had to not only change but I had to make others change as well. I began talking to my family and preaching to anyone that was willing to listen to my ramblings.
Now, it was under my assumption that other children were doing the same; that was until I attended the inaugural protest in Washington, D.C., last year. My roommate and I traveled to D.C. to stand and show that we were not happy with the state of the world. We stood in frigid temperatures to let the government know that we had voices that needs to be heard. Then there was also the benefit of being able to give George the middle-finger salute. But after attending, it just saddened me that not other fellow punks, weirdos, freaks, or even just normal people, were there with us. You need to take action to get a reaction. How do people expect to make a change when they do nothing?
I came to the conclusion: there are a lot of lazy, apathetic punks. How can these children have these ideals and not want to spread them to the masses? Where do these children go? Where is that big Mohawk that almost poked my eye out?
Even Anti-Flag drove from Pittsburgh that day to stand in the cold to prove that they were not just making songs for their health. Going to shows and standing with people like you is not going to make a difference. Kids should be affecting everyone with their ideals, not just talking to those that look like them.
These so called “punks” need to start becoming activists rather than opponents. I’m not saying you have to start a band; it is the little things such as talking to family or people on the street that can make a difference.
Every punk show that kids attend exposes them to so many ideas and concepts that the average person knows nothing about. If you really want to be a punk rocker, then stand up for what you believe in. It is taking that extra step; whether it is handing out animal rights flyers, attending protests, writing articles, or going to flip off George … you have a voice and you need to use it. It drives me insane that kids are settling for just being the stereotypical dictionary definition of an arrogant, worthless, lazy punk (that is according to Webster, my friends). How can you go to a show with so much energy and then not want to enact change? We do have brains and we know how to use them.
Rosalie Yurasits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.